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The New AVMA Companion Animal Aftercare Policy - Part II

  • May 10, 2021 3:05 PM EDT

    In Part I of this series, we ended with the importance of validating the cremation services offered by your chosen facility, and also looked over some investigations into various crematory companies. Now, we will turn the page and look to ways in which we can benefit pet parents by offering them pre-planning solutions to lessen the burden on the day of their appointment. 


    2. “Encourage prior planning so that owners are aware of their options and can easily communicate their preferences. Pre-planning can be offered by the veterinarian or delegated to the aftercare facility*.” 

    The power of pre-planning for euthanasia is exceptional in that it gives the owners a chance to both prepare and begin to cope with the loss of their companion. It often empowers owners as they face the circumstance of loss. Opening up dialogue about this also gives them the time to think about what they want in terms of the appointment itself, when it should occur, and aftercare options.  

    While the veterinarian helps pet owners in making the right decision about when to euthanize their pet, there are many tools for pet owners to take home with them to assist in evaluating their pet’s quality of life. The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center has a wonderful Quality of Life Assessment Tool for pet parents where they can assess QOL at home. A printable pdf can be found here.


    The Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy suggests a few points to consider for the appointment.[1]

    • Where to gather (Home, hospital, favorite place) 
    • When it should take place (Before a crisis, when loved ones will be able to attend) 
    • Who should be there (family and friends, children, other pets) 
    • What special touches to include (Music, photos, ceremonies) 
    • How the aftercare will be managed (personal preference of crematorium, cemetery, or memorialization).  

    The AVMA also discusses in their policy: “Providers should allow clients to be well informed about pet aftercare options.” It gives them time to think about what they want and avoid feeling pressured to make a decision on the day of the appointment.

    Many people do not know what to expect with regard to the euthanasia appointment. It is often their first experience or a previous one has occurred so long ago that they forget the details. A pre-euthanasia appointment is a useful tool where we can map out the experience and what to expect on the day of their appointment, as well as time to discuss preplanning for aftercare options.  

    There is a great resource for a pre-planning tool developed by the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance that makes a wonderful addition to a pre-planning consultation. A printable version can be found here. Other resources for euthanasia pre-planning and tips for the practice can be found here.



    • 389 posts
    May 10, 2021 3:17 PM EDT

    Dr. Cooney of the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy is a Contributor to our Human-Animal Bond series. We invite you to browse and view topics of interest On Demand:

    In this 3-part series Dr. Kathleen Cooney guides veterinary and pet care professionals in how to assist pet owners with decision making for euthanasia, determine and align with their needs, and ensure a good euthanasia experience for all involved. Discussion includes how to prepare and set the stage for a peaceful passing and best support families. 

    Earn up to 1.5 hours of AAVSB RACE, NY State and NJVMA-approved CE credit.

    • Part I: Preserving and Protecting the Bond - Euthanasia Preplanning (Running time: 24 mins)  
      Read More & Register >

    • Part II: Preserving and Protecting the Bond - The Euthanasia Appointment (Running time: 23 mins) Read More & Register >

    • Part III: Euthanasia - Maintaining the Bond (Running time: 27 mins) Read More & Register >